It’s that time of year again when scammers look forward to spending your hard earned tax returns by stealing your personal info. The FTC reports that tax-related ID Theft was the most common type of ID theft reported in 2014. Bogus “IRS Agents” are turning up everywhere – online, on the phone, and even in person hiding behind a fake ID badge. Here’s some tips to help you determine if IRS means It’s Really a Scam!
Caller claims to be an IRS Agent and tells you that you owe money and need to pay right away with a pre-paid debit card or credit card. Calls appear to be from Washington, D.C. so beware of this ruse.
Unexpected letter from IRS states that you did not report all wages for the year from an unknown employer or that more than one tax return was filed for you.
An email asks for personal information and states you owe the IRS additional money for unpaid taxes.
IMPORTANT: The IRS does NOT email, text, call or use social media to conduct business with you. They will write a letter if there is an issue.
If you have reason to believe you are a victim of Tax Identity Theft take the following steps to protect yourself:
File a police report.
Contact the FTC and file an ID Theft Affidavit. Call 1-877-438-4338 or visit www.identitytheft.gov.
Report problem to IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit by calling 1-800-908-4490.
Place a Fraud Alert on your credit by contacting the three major credit bureaus:
Be sure to document all communications and get your free annual credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com. They will ask for your personal info and as long as you initiated the contact it is safe in this instance.
A few moments of your time can make a world of difference when it comes to your hard earned money. Learning how to be scam-free has its own reward!